B-201615, SEP 1, 1981

B-201615: Sep 1, 1981

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EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF COMMUTED RATE WHERE HE MAKES HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THE DETERMINATION TO SHIP BY GBL IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE ON BASIS OF POTENTIAL SAVINGS TO GOVERNMENT OVER COST OF COMMUTED RATE REIMBURSEMENT. SINCE COST SAVINGS CAN ONLY BE REALIZED WHERE GOODS ARE IN FACT SHIPPED BY GBL. EMPLOYEE WHO MADE OWN SHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS BY COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. EVEN THOUGH REIMBURSEMENT IS LESS THAN ACTUAL COST. ANDRES VILLAROSA - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS: WE HAVE BEEN ASKED BY AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TO DETERMINE WHETHER MR.

B-201615, SEP 1, 1981

DIGEST: ALTHOUGH EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED ACTUAL EXPENSE SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL), EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF COMMUTED RATE WHERE HE MAKES HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THE DETERMINATION TO SHIP BY GBL IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE ON BASIS OF POTENTIAL SAVINGS TO GOVERNMENT OVER COST OF COMMUTED RATE REIMBURSEMENT. SINCE COST SAVINGS CAN ONLY BE REALIZED WHERE GOODS ARE IN FACT SHIPPED BY GBL, EMPLOYEE WHO MADE OWN SHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS BY COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, EVEN THOUGH REIMBURSEMENT IS LESS THAN ACTUAL COST.

ANDRES VILLAROSA - TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS:

WE HAVE BEEN ASKED BY AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TO DETERMINE WHETHER MR. ANDRES VILLAROSA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THAT DEPARTMENT, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE ACTUAL EXPENSE OF SHIPPING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING. ALTHOUGH MR. VILLAROSA'S TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED ACTUAL EXPENSE SHIPMENT BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL), HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE NOT SHIPPED BY GBL AND MR. VILLAROSA'S REIMBURSEMENT IS THEREFORE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT TO WHICH HE IS ENTITLED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF THE COMMUTED RATE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED.

MR. VILLAROSA'S TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS (TRANSPORTATION BY GBL) FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO WASHINGTON, D. C., INCIDENT TO HIS PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. HOWEVER, THE DEPARTMENT'S SHIPPING AND RECEIVING OFFICIALS ADVISED HIM THAT THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE A GBL AND INSTRUCTED HIM TO NEGOTIATE HIS MOVE WITH ANY APPROVED MOVING COMPANY AND SUBMIT THE PAID BILL FROM THE COMPANY WITH HIS VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT ADVICE, MR. VILLAROSA MADE THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR HIS MOVE AND SHIPPED HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY COMMERCIAL BILL OF LADING AT A COST OF $471.49. IN SETTLING HIS CLAIM FOR RELOCATION EXPENSES, THE DEPARTMENT LIMITED HIS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTATION TO $376, THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE DETERMINED UNDER GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION BULLETIN FPMR A-2. BASED ON HIS TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING ACTUAL EXPENSE SHIPMENT MR. VILLAROSA CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE $95.49 AMOUNT BY WHICH HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES EXCEEDED THE AMOUNT HE HAS BEEN REIMBURSED UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. HE POINTS OUT THAT HE FOLLOWED AGENCY INSTRUCTIONS AND OTHERWISE ACTED IN GOOD FAITH IN UNDERTAKING TO MAKE HIS OWN TRANSPORTATION ARRANGEMENTS.

SECTION 5724(C) OF TITLE 5 OF THE U.S.C. (1978) PROVIDES THAT UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO TRANSFERS BETWEEN POINTS INSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, INSTEAD OF BEING PAID FOR THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, SHALL BE REIMBURSED ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS UNLESS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES IS MORE ECONOMICAL. THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS, CHAPTER 2, PART 8, OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973), DEFINE THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE TRANSPORTED ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS UNDER GBL, RATHER THAN UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM. SEE ESPECIALLY FTR PARAGRAPH 2-8.3.

UNDER THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, AN EMPLOYEE MAKES HIS OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND IS REIMBURSED ON THE BASIS OF THE RATES FOUND IN BULLETIN FPMR A-2. HE MAY BE REIMBURSED MORE OR LESS THAN THE ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION COST HE INCURS. UNDER THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD, THE EMPLOYEE BEARS NO RISK THAT THE FULL COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS (WITHIN APPLICABLE WEIGHT LIMITATIONS) WILL NOT BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE GOVERNMENT ISSUES A GBL AND PAYS ALL MOVING EXPENSES INCURRED THEREUNDER. THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE MAY INCIDENTALLY BENEFIT FROM A DETERMINATION TO SHIP HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY GBL, THAT DETERMINATION IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF A POTENTIAL COST BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT. PARAGRAPH 2 8.3C OF THE FTR PROVIDES THAT EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN INTRASTATE MOVES, HOUSEHOLD GOODS MAY BE TRANSPORTED UNDER THE ACTUAL EXPENSE METHOD ONLY ON THE BASIS OF A PREDETERMINATION THAT SHIPMENT BY GBL WILL BE LESS COSTLY TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED RATE BASIS.

THE ANTICIPATED COST BENEFIT REQUIRED TO SUPPORT A DETERMINATION TO SHIP BY GBL CAN BE REALIZED ONLY IF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE IN FACT TRANSPORTED UNDER A GBL, GIVING THE GOVERNMENT THE ADVANTAGE OF REDUCED SHIPPING RATES. FOR THIS REASON, WE HAVE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE NOT SHIPPED BY GBL, BUT WHO MAKES HIS OWN SHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS IS TO BE REIMBURSED AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE EVEN THOUGH HIS TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ACTUAL EXPENSE SHIPMENT BY GBL. SEE WILLIAM K. MULLINAX, B-181156, NOVEMBER 19, 1974.

THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM IS ONE OF APPROXIMATION WHICH, DEPENDENT UPON THE VARIABLES IN EACH SHIPMENT, WILL SOMETIMES BE FAVORABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE, BUT IN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES MAY OPERATE TO HIS DISADVANTAGE. WHEN IT DOES OPERATE TO HIS DISADVANTAGE, THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH THE DIFFERENCE MAY BE REIMBURSED. A. L. STRASFOGEL, B-186975, MARCH 16, 1977.

FOR THE REASONS STATED MR. VILLAROSA'S CLAIM IS DENIED.